Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Legend of Lorelei

Die Lorelei
by Heinrich Heine

I don’t know what it could mean,
that I’m so sad: I find,
A fairy-tale, from times unseen,
Won’t vanish from my mind.

The air is cool and it darkens,
And quiet flows the Rhine:
The tops of the mountains sparkle,
In evening’s after-shine.

The loveliest of maidens,
She’s wonderful, sits there,
Her golden jewels glisten,
She combs her (shining) hair.

She combs it with a comb of gold,
And sings a song as well:
Its strangeness too is old
And casts a powerful spell.

It grips the boatman in his boat
With a wild pang of woe:
He only looks up to the heights,
Can’t see the rocks below.

I believe the waves swallowed
The boat and its boatman,
That’s what, by her singing,
The Lorelei has done.


Lorelei
by Sylvia Plath

It is no night to drown in:
A full moon, river lapsing
Black beneath bland mirror-sheen,

The blue water-mists dropping
Scrim after scrim like fishnets
Though fishermen are sleeping,

The massive castle turrets
Doubling themselves in a glass
All stillness. Yet these shapes float

Up toward me, troubling the face
Of quiet. From the nadir
They rise, their limbs ponderous

With richness, hair heavier
Than sculptured marble. They sing
Of a world more full and clear

Than can be. Sisters, your song
Bears a burden too weighty
For the whorled ear's listening

Here, in a well-steered country,
Under a balanced ruler.
Deranging by harmony

Beyond the mundane order,
Your voices lay siege. You lodge
On the pitched reefs of nightmare,

Promising sure harborage;
By day, descant from borders
Of hebetude, from the ledge

Also of high windows. Worse
Even than your maddening
Song, your silence. At the source

Of your ice-hearted calling --
Drunkenness of the great depths.
O river, I see drifting

Deep in your flux of silver
Those great goddesses of peace.
Stone, stone, ferry me down there.


The Mermaid
by Orphan Veli

She must just have left the sea.
Her hair and lips
Smelled of the sea till morning.
Her rising and falling breast was like the sea.

I knew she was poor -
But you can't talk of poverty all the time.
Gently, next to my ear
She sang songs of love.

Who knows what she has learned and experienced
In her life fighting the sea.
Patching fish nets, casting fish nets, gathering fish nets,
To remind me of spiny fish
Her hands touched my hands.

That night I saw; I saw it in her eyes;
How lovely the sea has risen in the open sea.
Her hair taught me about waves;
I tossed and tossed around dreams.

- - - - - - -

For more info, see the Wikipedia article.

1 Comments:

Blogger b. hummed...

"I tossed and tossed around dreams"

~ ~ one too many, maybe.
but, true.

~x~, b.
(you'll always inspire & encourage, no matter who you are.
That..is forever, friend.

7/08/2007 1:42 AM  

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